Monday, 2 November 2009

Stinger season officially starts this week

Stinger nets will be installed on the Northern Beaches and Port Douglas this week, heralding the official start of the marine stinger season, commonly called the Silly Season.
Cairns Regional Council will contribute $1.5 million this year through lifeguards and stinger enclosures.
However stinger nets are not 100% guaranteed that you won't get attacked by some of the tiny deadly sea creatures. Lifesavers drag inside and around the nets for monitoring.
Local stingers include Irukandji (Carukia barnesi) and Box Jellyfish (Chironex fleckerii) that can cause stings with severe reactions. Lifesaving Services Coordinator for Far North Queensland Ebeny Keating says swimmers are should swim between the red and yellow beach flags and not sit on or interfere with the enclosures. Jellyfish may wash over the top or through the sides, she says.

“Wearing protective clothing such as Lycra body suits has proven to be effective in preventing stings and also acts as valuable sun protection,” Ebeny Keating says.

Monday: Trinity, Clifton, Holloways Beaches, Palm Cove, Port Douglas Four Mile Beach
Tuesday: Kewarra, Ellis Beaches and Yorkeys Knob
Wednesday: Bramston Beach
  • Remedies for marine stings
    Vinegar is the tried and tested way to treat a marine sting. Most beaches have containers of vinegar available for use if a sting occurs, located at the dune segment of beach. Pouring the liquid on the stung area deactivates the stinging cells, although this will not reduce the pain. Do not rub the victim's skin. Symptoms of a sting can include nausea and severe abdominal pain. It is necessary to go to the hospital and seek professional treatment.
    The most dangerous marine stingers found in Queensland waters are the Box Jellyfish and Irukandji Jellyfish.

  • Box Jellyfish
    Watch out for the nasty Box Jellyfish. Found in shallow waters north of Gladstone, they can administer a sting that can inflict searing pain and leave prominent scares. A sting, if severe enough, can also be fatal. Box Jellyfish breed in mangrove swamps and they are more numerous after rain, which flushes them out of river systems towards beaches. It is very important to swim in stinger net enclosures to avoid making contact with the Box Jellyfish.

  • Irukandji Jellyfish
    Irukandji are much smaller than box jellyfish, and inhabit a large sea area that includes the Great Barrier Reef and beaches.
    At only 2cm in diameter, the Irukandji is most prevalent in northern waters of Queensland, such as beaches near Cairns. The sting is only moderately painful and scarring is minimal, but approximately 30 minutes after the sting the patient develops severe back and abdominal pain, limb or joint pain, nausea and vomiting, sweating and agitation.

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